John Kirwan appointed Auckland Blues new coach.

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John Kirwan appointed Auckland Blues new coach. Empty John Kirwan appointed Auckland Blues new coach.

Post by Biltong on Tue 17 Jul 2012, 12:23 pm

From Supersport.

Former All Blacks winger John Kirwan has been named as the new coach of the struggling Auckland Blues Super Rugby franchise, the team said on Tuesday.

The 47-year-old Kirwan, who also coached the Italy and Japan national teams, replaces Pat Lam, who spent four years in charge of the team in New Zealand's largest city.

The New Zealand Rugby Union had opened the job up for applications as the Blues lurched through a terrible Super Rugby season to miss the playoffs and finish 12th in the 15-team southern hemisphere provincial competition.

"This is an exciting time. I am honoured to be given the opportunity to lead the Blues next season in what I hope will be a new era of success and innovation," Kirwan said in a statement.

"I'm also thrilled about coming back to New Zealand and home to Auckland after several years overseas.

"I am a proud Blues man and I started my rugby career in the region so I am really excited about connecting with fans and working with the Blues community.

"There is certainly some hard work ahead and I am looking forward to the challenge."

The Blues struggled with injuries and form this season, with Lam forced to field a number of up-and-coming players towards the end of the regular season.

"We've had to find a lot of young guys and I take my hat off to them, it's been a really tough season, we've had so much crap thrown at us," the former Samoa captain said after the Blues' final match on Saturday, an upset win over the Canberra-based ACT Brumbies.

"We're the most under-resourced coaching team in this competition with just two fulltime coaches. Whoever takes this job next year, they need to be well resourced."

Lam re-applied for the job and had his interview last week, delaying his arrival in Australia ahead of the Brumbies match.
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Post by formerly known as Sam on Tue 17 Jul 2012, 12:34 pm

Only two fulltime coaches? That seems a little under prepared for a major competition like the Super 15. Kirwan will be looking for a whole new backroom staff as well then.

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Post by chewed_mintie on Tue 17 Jul 2012, 12:56 pm

That just confirms how much of a fruit case the franchise have become Sam

Great signing in my opinion, JK personifies Auckland Rugby like no other really. Hope he brings in a strong team of support, I think I heard a whisper that John Hart may consult on a part time basis, but this surely can't be right as he is a Director of the NZ Warriors RL team.

Auckland is a basket case like no other. It is home to the biggest pool of talent in the world but they constantly stuff things up. I read that they aren't going to compete with the NRL, who send scouts over and offer minimal contracts to the best players; these players generally don't come from wealthy homes so they take the money early and head off to Oz or the Warriors. Konrad Hurrell and Omar Slaimankhel are just two examples on players who got away...

They need a strategy to ensure the best talent is not only identified early, but given access to world class coaching and mentoring so the supply of players is continuous and steady.

From a Wellingtonian, as much as I have laughed at the misery endured by Aucklanders lately, NZ Rugby is strongest when Auckland is strong. Here's hoping Sir JK can get them back on the right track

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Post by kiakahaaotearoa on Tue 17 Jul 2012, 5:59 pm

I don't buy this NZ is strongest when Auckland is strong mintie. It's easy to remember the days of Brown, Dowd, Fitzpatrick, Jones ad nauseum and they dominated club and international rugby for a staggering amount of time. But look back at the whole history of the ABs and their dominance doesn't stand out as much.

Then again I do agree that if Auckland does become strong again then that can only be good for NZ rugby. Just so long as the other regions don't turn to custard as well.

As for JK, thought it was really low blow from stuff to put the headline He's got the Blues. JK came out as someone who suffers from depression and that courage is done no favours whatsoever by that gutter journalism. Shame on you stuff.

If he can bring the innovation he brought to Japan, I think Auckland will benefit greatly. He must have Foxy's number so he would do well to get his advice and then surround himself with some good Auckland men who have a lot of blue and white regional pride as well as technical nous. Seems like a good move. Hope he can turn around the franchise and a great opportunity for higher honours in the future if he does.

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Post by aucklandlaurie on Wed 18 Jul 2012, 1:16 am

formerly known as Sam wrote:Only two fulltime coaches? That seems a little under prepared for a major competition like the Super 15. Kirwan will be looking for a whole new backroom staff as well then.

Andy Dalton on the other hand said this morning that Lam got all the resources that he required,in terms of coaches he had himself as head coach, 2 assistant coaches, a scrum coach, plus what ever jeff Wilson did.

But maybe he placed his resouces in the wrong places? because he also had:
A Manager,
assistant manager
Doctor
physio
assistant physio
strength and conditioning coach
nutritionist
video analyst
assistant video analyst
high performance manager
and a professional development manager.

Kirwan will have more coaching staff, but they will spend more time getting out and looking at club rugby in North Auckland, North harbour and Auckland itself. last Saturday afternoon Kirwan was at the club game between Marist and Grammar Carlton and is going back to Italy this week.


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